Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't Feed The Troll

I know, but this troll managed to get into the New York Times op-ed section today.

If he had been reading The Oil Drum, he would have known that this is a dumb idea. If he posted that op-ed on The Oil Drum, he would have been dismissed as a troll who wasn't keeping up with his reading.

A Navy man who thinks the Navy can do it. Not surprising. Unfortunately, he has no idea of what the Navy has been doing that might achieve his goals.
The Navy also commands explosives experts who have vast knowledge of underwater demolitions. And it has some of the world’s finest underwater engineers at Naval Reactors, the secretive program that is responsible for designing nuclear reactors for nuclear submarines. With the help of scientists in our national weapons laboratories and experts from private companies, these engineers can be let loose on the well.
And they have those nukes in their back pockets! Evidently he hasn't heard that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has a bunch of experts working on the problem. But not Navy, so I guess it doesn't count.
...the Navy could focus on stopping the leak with a conventional demolition. This means more than simply “blowing it up”: it means drilling a hole parallel to the leaking well and lowering charges to form an explosive column.
Um, there are two relief wells currently being drilled. Parallel and close to the hole would interfere with the oil containment measures now in progress. It's a pretty good bet that the relief wells will do their job. The oil industry has been dealing with relief wells for a very long time.
Upon detonating several tons of explosives, a pressure wave of hundreds of thousands of pounds per square inch would spread outward in the same way that light spreads from a tubular fluorescent bulb, evenly and far. Such a sidelong explosion would implode the oil well upstream of the leak by crushing it under a layer of impermeable rock, much as stepping on a garden hose stops the stream of water.
Several tons? The well bore might reach a couple of feet diameter. How are several tons of explosive going to fit? And the typical direction of force is outward, as our troll says. That means that craters form as rocks get thrown around.

This is where I think our submariner misunderstands what his underwater Navy colleagues have been doing. Many of their explosives are shaped charges. It is possible to build a shaped charge to collapse a pipe. Such shaped charges would have to be fitted around the pipe. Unbolting the blowout protector and installing a cap is easier and more predictable. The reason this hasn't been done seems to be that those in charge believe that the well casing is damaged, and pressure will further damage it.

I am getting really tired of the dumb stuff that the MSM is willing to print.

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